Dear Brothers and Sisters: Our continuing catechesis on the Eucharist today centres on the importance of Sunday Mass. As Christians, we celebrate the Eucharist in order to encounter the Lord, to hear his word, eat at his table and, by his grace to fulfil our mission in the world as members of his Mystical Body the Church. As the day of the resurrection and the pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Sunday is the Christian holy day par excellence. How could we pass this day without encountering the Lord? Sadly, in many secularized societies, we have lost the sense of Sunday. The Second Vatican Council asked us to celebrate the Lord’s Day as a day of joy and rest from servile work, precisely as a sign of our dignity as children of God. Each Sunday is meant to be a foretaste of the eternal bliss and repose to which we are called and which we share, even now, in Holy Communion. In the end, we go to Mass not to give something to God, but to receive from him the grace and strength to remain faithful to his word, to follow his commandments and, through his living presence within us, to be witnesses of his goodness and love before the world.
I am pleased to greet the participants in the 2017 Forum of Catholic-inspired Non-Governmental Organizations meeting in Rome during these days. I express my deep appreciation for your efforts to bring the light of the Gospel to the various peripheries of our world, in order to defend human dignity, to promote the integral development of peoples, and to meet the material and spiritual needs of so many members of our human family. I encourage you to work always in a spirit of communion and cooperation with other Catholic NGOs and with the representatives of the Holy See, as an expression of the Church’s commitment to the building of a more just and fraternal world. With prayerful good wishes that these days of reflection and discussion will prove fruitful for your work, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.
I also greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly the groups from Australia, Indonesia, India, Japan and the United States of America. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.